War hero's anger at hearing aid delay

WHEN war hero Jack Hoskins piloted Wellington bombers in the Second World War, his hearing was badly affected by the engine noise.So two years ago, when he was promised a new digital hearing aid, he was hoping it wouldn't take long before he got one.

WHEN war hero Jack Hoskins piloted Wellington bombers in the Second World War, his hearing was badly affected by the engine noise.

So two years ago, when he was promised a new digital hearing aid, he was hoping it wouldn't take long before he got one. But, today, he is still waiting.

War pensioners receive priority in the queue for free hearing aids but Wg Cdr Hoskins has still not received what he needs.

Wg Cdr Hoskins, 91, who received the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Flying Cross and was mentioned in dispatches, said: ''I have been waiting for mine for two years and then recently I got a letter asking if I still needed one - perhaps they were checking up to see whether I was still alive.''


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His hearing started to fade in the 1980s and he was given two analogue hearing aids. Due to advances in technology they are now inferior to digital aids and Wg Cdr Hoskins, of Woodbridge Road, Bredfield, has already received glowing reports about the new aids from his sister and nephew who have them.

But despite ''bothering Ipswich Hospital all the time'' he has been unable to obtain his new aid. This is concerning his wife of 61 years, Monique Hoskins, because she suffers from cancer and she is worried that he will be unable to help during an emergency.

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''Jack is in great, great difficulty with his hearing. He cannot hear the telephone well, he mixes up the sounds, and he cannot hear the fire alarm. I am worried what will happen if I fall,'' said Mrs Hoskins.

In March 2005 Ipswich Hospital told Wg Cdr Hoskins it was about to start fitting digital hearing instruments.

It was warned that there could be a significant wait - but Wg Cdr Hoskins was a priority because he was a war pensioner with a hearing disability.

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said yesterday that there had been an unprecedented demand for the new hearing aids and this had caused a delay in fitting them.

''He is a priority patient which means that he will be treated as soon as we can possibly reach him. We give the most urgent priority to children,'' she said.

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